NEW YORK — Direct marketing is experiencing growth in the pharmaceutical industry, according to Dave Bailey, vice president, pharmaceutical markets at Harte-Hanks. He made the statement yesterday while addressing the Direct Marketing Club of New York's luncheon.
Bailey discussed the present and future of pharmaceutical DM. Though 90,000 sales reps call on doctors — a number expected to exceed 100,000 next year — actual face time with physicians is declining because doctors are busy treating patients, he said.
“Sales reps make 15 attempted visits before actually making a sales call to a high-volume subscriber,” Bailey said. He added that 82 percent of physicians restrict access to their Web sites.
“Physicians have had it up to here,” said Bailey, who began his career as a pharmaceutical sales rep. “Their job is to treat patients.”
But DMers have an opportunity. Though sales reps probably always will be part of the marketing equation, they will have to do more communicating with collateral they leave in physicians' offices and direct mail to promote their brand.
“These types of [direct marketing] programs will become far more innovative because they will have to play a much larger role [in the selling process],” he said.
Direct marketing will play a larger role because “more brands are competing than ever before, including generic brands, which are competing on price,” he said.
Bailey said that promotions targeting physicians work. And while the pharmaceutical industry had relied on industry journals to reach doctors, a wealth of physician data is quickly and easily available via chain drug stores and mom-and-pop drug stores. Thus, pharmaceutical manufacturers can target their message better.
As a result, “direct marketing will continue to grow in the pharmaceutical industry as time goes on,” Bailey said.